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The Making of the Freight Train and
Tren de Carga Apps—Part II

“The Freight Train app (which I was lucky enough to see a sneak peek of) might just be the best thing since disposable diapers, in parenting speak, and since the printing press in library terms. A digital tool that takes a text and then adds interactivity? This is sheer genius.”
—Karyn Silverman*

Don Crews Greenwillow

Don Crews testing out the app in Virginia's office.

One of the interesting things about working on an app based on a book is that what you (artist, editor, art director) can imagine, the techies can’t necessarily achieve . . . yet. And what the developers want to do, you don’t necessarily agree with—because you want to stay true to the classic. So you need to compromise. It’s kind of like the process of making a book, actually.

The world of a picture book is alive between the pictures and behind the doors and on the other side of that hill. One of the great things about an app is that you can explore in a tangible way that world—at least how you (artist, editor, art director) see it. It’s not a book anymore, and in a way the reader has more information; less to fill in. There are games and things to do and a soundtrack. It’s a different way to use your imagination. Oh, whatever. Let’s face it. It’s just fun.

Freight Train app Greenwillow

Check out the Curious Puppy website!

Watch a demo of the app!

Download iTunes and check out the app today!

*Karyn Silverman is the high school librarian and Educational Technology Department Chair at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City.  She has also served on the Printz Award committee, as well as chairing the Best Books for Young Adults committee.  Follow her on Twitter (@InfoWitch).


  1. KT Horning says:

    Very cool. I’m sending this link to my nephews (who are now 28 and 16) who were both Freight Train fanatics at age 2.

  2. cindy says:

    am really enjoying these posts about
    freight train app! so exciting and
    what fun!

  3. Debbie Rees says:

    Wow! Back in the 80s when I was teaching kindergarten and first grade, I made the train using felt for a felt-story-board language experience with the book. And when I quit teaching to be full-time mom, my daughter loved our felt board Freight Train…

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